Slow-cooked aromas wafting through the crisp autumnal air, and a boisterous home filled with raucous laughter. What do these sights, smells, and sounds conjer up in your memory? For me, these are characteristics of Thanksgiving Day, my favorite holiday of the year. I love the sense of family, gratitude, and warmth that this day ignites.
When I was a child, Thanksgiving held the same traditions each and every year. My festivities began early in the week when my sisters and I ventured to my grandmother's house to spend a few days with her. We would help her prepare a fanciful feast and learn from her terrific cooking talent. Then, our small family would gather together for a late Wednesday evening dinner. It was fabulous! No pomp. No stuffiness. Just good 'ole Southern favorites all in one place, all at one time. The funniest memory of this event is that Grandma is a particular woman. She had to have those styrofoam trays/plates that kept one's food from touching. She would search far and wide to ensure that the trays were on hand to prevent any culinary collisions. At last, the feast was devoured and our bellies were left to rest until the true turkey day arrived.
We spent Thanksgiving Eve at Grandma's house. I can remember setting my alarm to wake up in time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Slowly, I stumbled and stammered down the extensive hall and into the kitchen to treat myself to a toasty cup of mocha cappucino and a leftover piece of warmed pecan pie. Now, this was the breakfast of champions! I settled into a snuggly chair in Grandma's formal living room, swaddled in a cozy blanket, and flipped on the TV to view the annual parade. I don't know what it is about that parade, but it just fills me with joy and glee.
I always planned the parade just right. You see, my other grandparents had Thanksgiving lunch at their house, which was about 20 minutes away. It took some engineering to make sure that I was there in time for lunch, without missing Santa's appearance in the parade. By the time I walked in the door at Granny and Papaw's, Old Saint Nick was always about to make his famed ride. As soon as I'd witnessed this each year, I was ready to turn off the TV for the day and settle into some fantastic food and pleasant conversation. However, the men always had football at the forefront of their minds.
The day always finished with another delicious meal and a hefty nap before doing the dishes, and then a night cap of some leftover delights.
Thanksgiving has evolved for me in the past few years. It's amazing how that happens as you get older and your family changes. Now, I'm looking for creative new ways to celebrate with my husband and our families. What is unique about your Thanksgiving traditions?